The history of Three Sisters Park began in 1986.

Three sisters, Sadie, Lillian, and Goldie Cohen, desired that their family farm of 400 acres near Chillicothe, Illinois be used as a park and model farm for recreation and education. Though they lived on historic Moss Avenue in nearby Peoria, the sisters had a vision that the farm would provide ongoing learning opportunities in history, agriculture and conservation, as well as park space for events.

The park is presently owned and operated by a non-profit foundation/corporation that the Cohen sisters founded and endowed. It is governed by a board of directors.

The Foundation’s first step toward bringing the vision of the sisters to life was to enlist the services of Rhodell Owens, former director of the Peoria Park District for thirty-seven years, as an advisor and member of the SLG Cohen Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors. In 1991 Mr. Owens brought together a diverse group of people, with expertise in a variety of fields, to voluntarily serve on an Advisory Board.

This group’s function was to research various ways to create the park, make recommendations for uses, and devise plans of action. Advice from this Advisory Board, Mr. Owens, and other professional counsel to the SLG Cohen Foundation, Inc. resulted in the development of a Master Plan for Three Sisters Park.

Starting in 1991, the physical development of the Park began with the installation of infrastructure that would support the needs of future development. This included the installation of sewer and water lines from the Park’s north border to areas of development a half mile away. Inadequate and unsightly overhead electrical lines were removed and replaced with underground electrical lines. Installation of roads, along with improvements to existing ones, landscaping, and development of a maintenance area to service the Park was accomplished. Additionally, a multipurpose octagonal steel pavilion and annex, styled and painted to resemble a barn, was constructed.

On August 27, 1992, Three Sisters Park officially opened to the public for limited use for special events.

In 1993 the 100-year-old farmhouse was donated and moved to the Park for the Living History Farm Museum. To continue the farm development, in 2000 a grant was received from the state to assist with the construction of the timber frame barn, authentic to the era, for the farmstead. That same year a 136-year-old church was donated and moved to the Park for the village. The church was destroyed by fire in December 2002. A new chapel, much like the old in design, was built in 2004. The Gatehouse, where the offices are located, was built in 2002. The addition of an outdoor amphitheater was constructed in the early 2000s and has grown throughout the years.

The Living History Farm of the 1918 era is visible with the historic farmhouse, barn, and barnyard. An agricultural museum is in the works for the future as well. The Advisory Board continues to envision and maintain plans for the future to keep the Three Sisters legacy alive by offering an educational and recreational private, not-for-profit institution, providing life-long learning opportunities in history, agriculture, and conservation for all people.